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GKMS Announces I Pledge Too Programme

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Diaspora now able to contribute to Primary Education via Western Union

General Manager of GraceKennedy Money Services (GKMS), Joan-Marie Powell today announced the launch of the company’s newest initiative to enhance literacy in Jamaican Primary Schools. The programme dubbed I Pledge Too allows residents of the USA to make contributions to the Western Union effort to computerize Primary Schools.

The announcement was made at the handing over ceremony of the I Pledge Computerization Programme for 2011. “It takes a village to raise a child and so we have come up with a way that can facilitate a collective approach to tackling the problem of illiteracy”, stated Powell. Over the course of the next six months, Western Union will be collecting pledges from across the USA and all the monies will be donated to put more computers into more Primary Schools in 2013. 

Residents abroad have three ways of donating to the cause:-
• Via text by sending WUJA to 52000
• Visit westernunion.com/ipledge and  enter their cell phone number
• Visit any Western Union location in the US and mention the code “I Pledge Too Jamaica” and the code city “Colorado”.

“I Pledge Too is a continuation of our existing Western Union I Pledge programme”, explained Powell.  I Pledge stands for I Promise to Lend Encouragement to Develop Growth in Education. The programme includes 4 components; The National Reading Week, The National Schools’ English Competition, The Debating Competition and the Computerization Programme.

When asked why the company saw computers as so critical to literacy learning, the GKMS General Manager responded, “The world is changing faster that we can understand; and classrooms need to keep up with that pace. This computerization programme represents a move to effectively presenting reading material in a way that the children will understand; no matter their learning style”.

Some JA$10 million dollars were committed by both GKMS and Western Union to outfit the 14 schools who were the recipients of this year’s tranche of computers. Powell also announced that in addition to the I Pledge Too donations collected next year, her company along with Western Union Foundation had already made a commitment of USD$100 000 to the computerization drive in 2013.

This year, 14 schools received computers and monitors under the I Pledge Programme. They are:-
1. New Providence Primary – St. Andrew
2. Craighton Primary – St. Andrew
3. Clifton Primary – St. Andrew
4. Trinityville – St. Thomas
5. Carron Hall Primary – St.  Mary
6. Free Hill Primary – St. Ann
7. Waltham Primary – St. Ann
8. Red Hills All Age – Clarendon
9. Pindars Valley All Age – Clarendon
10. Retrieve All Age – Westmoreland
11. Holly Hill Primary – Westmoreland
12. Brompton Primary – St. Elizabeth
13. St. Catherine Primary – St. Catherine
14. St. Patrick’s Foundation (NGO) – Kingston

25 schools have thus far benefitted from the I Pledge Computerization programme. The hope is that at least another 15 will be computerized next year, bringing the total to 40 computerized Jamaican Primary Schools by 2013.

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